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1 Support for biofuels: Considerations for policymakers International Biofuels Economic Outlook Panel Global Conference on Agricultural Biofuels: Research.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Support for biofuels: Considerations for policymakers International Biofuels Economic Outlook Panel Global Conference on Agricultural Biofuels: Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Support for biofuels: Considerations for policymakers International Biofuels Economic Outlook Panel Global Conference on Agricultural Biofuels: Research and Economics August 21, 2007 Masami Kojima, The World Bank

2 2 Political economy of liquid biofuels Divergent groups favor liquid biofuels Agribusiness, farmers Governments: energy security, rising oil import bills, job creation, growing fuel subsidies Some environmentalists – a wide range of views General public appeal of renewable fuel Complexity of interactions between energy, agriculture, environment, and macro- economy makes it difficult to see the issues clearly

3 3 Questions How has biofuel economics fared historically? Are subsidies a viable policy option for developing countries? Can Brazilian experience be replicated? Can biofuels mitigate oil price increases and price volatility? How are biofuels expected to affect, and be affected by, crop prices in the future?

4 4 First-generation liquid biofuels Limitations in economics and production potential widely acknowledged More than half of production cost due to feedstock Domestic production and consumption of biofuels economic under few favorable circumstances (Brazil in 2005 and 2007), but uneconomic most of the time Hence heavily protected, mostly domestic, limited trade Types of support Fuel tax and other fuel charge/fee reduction (universal) Mandatory blending or consumption requirements Import tariffs (primarily on ethanol) Production-linked subsidies Upstream (OECD agricultural policies) and downstream subsidies

5 5 Economics of ethanol production from sugarcane *83% sugar and 17% molasses, and molasses priced at 25% of sugar; 20% fuel economy penalty for ethanol

6 6 Landlocked economies with sugar production cost of $225/tonne *83% sugar and 17% molasses, and molasses priced at 25% of sugar; transport costs $100 per tonne of sugar & $150 per tonne of gasoline; 20% fuel economy penalty Economic % of months: 15% since % since Jan 2004

7 7 International price of sugar in 2006 averaged US$326/tonne, up from $158/ tonne in 2004, but fell to $222/tonne during 1H 2007

8 8 Vegetable oil vs. diesel prices *Price data from USDA FAS, World Bank and Energy Intelligence

9 9 Government support for consumers and domestic producers LocationTax reduction in US$ per liter of biofuel EthanolBiodiesel Germany (to end-July 2006) Australia USA (credit) or 0.13 Thailand0.65 (April 2006) São Paulo0.30 (June 2005) *European premium gasoline in 1H 2007 $0.49/liter High tariffs on ethanol to prevent subsidies from going to imports USA:$ per liter + 2.5/1.9% EU:US$0.26 / 0.14 per liter Brazil:20%

10 10 Accounting for environmental externalities GHG emission reduction: at $8-20 per tonne of CO 2 -equivalent, expect about $ per liter Much smaller than tax reductions provided to biofuels today Calculations on US subsidy per tonne of CO 2 equivalent (IISD) $520 in 2006 for maize to ethanol $118–147 for cellulosic ethanol if the current subsidy structure is maintained

11 11 Factors contributing to large- scale use of ethanol in Brazil Extremely favorable natural endowments in the center-south, enabling very low-cost sugarcane production Entirely rain-fed Seemingly unlimited supply of land (although concerns about displacement of virgin cerrados) Outstanding agricultural research Each mill uses about 15 varieties of cane Constant development of new commercial varieties Precise computer optimization of every step in the ethanol production process Functioning capital market, availability of managerial and technical skills, reasonable infrastructure Mandate and fuel tax reduction

12 12 Replicability About 100 countries grow sugar cane, but none matches Brazilian center-souths low cost Land and water requirements – Zambia has both plentiful land and water, but not necessarily at the same locations Capital market and infrastructure development, availability of managerial and technical skills Requirement for large fuel tax reductions today petroleum fuels an important source of government revenue in low-income countries

13 13 Can biofuels provide a solution to high oil prices? Biofuel production a small fraction of petroleum fuel production for the foreseeable future biofuels will be price takers Marginal demand and marginal supply set prices 1–2% net displacement of global oil demand (2–7% of transportation fuels) might moderate oil price increases

14 14 Land requirements First generation biofuels (LMC International) Displacing 5% of gasoline and diesel worldwide would be a challenge – if distributed globally, 15+% more land (100+ million hectares) Second generation biofuels Much greater potential because of ability to use wastes, residues, and non- food crops

15 15 Will high oil prices help biofuel economics? More room for cost recovery Higher production and market delivery costs (e.g., pre-FOB) because of higher energy prices If biofuels significantly increase demand for feedstocks, their prices will be driven up Increasing link to oil prices

16 16 Impact of higher biofuel demand Higher production of biofuels will raise food prices Good for producers, bad for consumers, especially the poor Most evidence suggests poor farming rural households are net buyers of food On balance, food security of the poor will be reduced Price increase in : 67% increase for maize, 45% for palm oil, 26% for rapeseed oil, 33% for sugar Higher crop prices already hurting biofuel industry (e.g., South Africa) Correlation with gasoline and diesel prices 75% for sugar and 30% for palm oil since Jan 2002, 75% for rapeseed oil since Jan Threshold diversion level for strong correlation to emerge?

17 17 Concluding remarks Reasons for supporting biofuels are attractive: rural development, reducing global warming, enhancing energy security. But a biofuel program may not be a good vehicle for addressing them; separate policy solutions may be more cost-effective. The economics of first generation biofuels is very much location-specific, as are environmental benefits. Legitimate government support for biofuels is R&D, and useful especially in developing country context. For energy security, it would be helpful to view liquid biofuels in context.

18 18 Additional thoughts and materials Available at: Resources/Considering_trade_policies_for_ liquid_biofuels.pdf


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